Possible Combinations of 3+ Undefeated Big Ten Teams in 2024/2025

The Big Ten has moved to a scheduling model they call Flex Protect Plus, in which each team plays 9 games, with 3 protected rivalries in every 2 year period. There are no divisions, which importantly means that there is no guarantee that we will get to the Big Ten Championship game with 2 or fewer undefeated teams. Since the schedules are now published, we can see what combinations of 3 or more Big Ten teams in 2024 and 2025 do not play each other, and therefore could get through the conference slate unscathed. This would obviously make one of these teams a little unhappy for missing the conference championship.

Schedules in Text

The announcement has the images graphically, but I hadn't seen them in text yet, so I converted them and put them in the spreadsheet above. Feel free to use and share if it's useful to you.

I wrote a brief Python script to go through and identify combinations of teams that don't play. Here are the sets in each year.


3 teams

4 teams



3 teams

4 teams

Please note that the SEC has only 8 conference games, and so there will likely be many more of these for them.


Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan all going undefeated in 2024 would be so absolutely wacky. I wonder who would draw the short straw in that scenario.


Iowa because every win would be 10-7 (the 10 points were scored with 5 safeties)


*wipes away a tear* That would be peak football.


Hey man, they get a (defensive) touchdown every now and then


My thought as well, thered be at least 1 defensive touchdown with a missed PAT and 2 safeties in there


>missed PAT Put some respect on our special teams


If we beat every opponent with only Safeties, you'd have to put us in. Imagine the meltdowns.


On the contrary, if that happens they cancel all postseason contests and Iowa is declared National Champion by default.


It would be Iowa. Big ten clearly is doing whatever sells first. But hey if all three are undefeated first they'd all still get into a 12 team playoff.


Right but one would miss out on a chance for a bye which is big


They get a Bye in the CCG. Honestly, the CCG loser is the worst spot of them all


Honestly, the one left out of the CCG might be in the best spot. If any of those three went undefeated with their schedules, they'd all be top 6 teams at worst. Would you rather play one of the other two top 6 teams on a neutral field (B1G CCG) and then get a playoff BYE, or would you want a BYE during CCG week and then get a playoff home game against a team seeded like 11th? I've been bringing up this scenario since the 12 team playoff was announced, but there are many plausible scenarios where you'd be better off being left out of your conference championship and getting the playoff home game instead


Imagine being 4th in the conference and winning a natty. Guess it's not much stranger than relying on the coaches poll 🤷‍♂️


Definitely true. You gotta wonder how long CCGs stick around at this point


I've been wondering if it would make sense to drop the conference championships, extend the regular season to 13 and have 9 conference, 4 non-con


That would make so much more sense and I honestly see that being what happens down the line


Too much money. It’ll never happen. You may even see conferences have a playoff internally to determine their champ.


Does the conference championship game bring in more money than 8 regular season games? I honestly don't know, but it seems unlikely.


As long as the checks clear, presumably


They gonna stay as long as the tv companies are making money from them


Do you make more money from 1 CCG or 8 regular games?(assuming 16 team conference)


It didn't fully pan out, but I always liked the idea the B1G had in 2020 for the championship week where each team played the team of the same rank from the opposite division.


Yes, I liked that idea too. Although it was easier to schedule in 2020 when you did not have to plan for fans in the stadium. Still they could probably set it up where you have designated home teams that week and the opponent be flexible, if you end up in the CCG, you have a 50% chance of losing a home game.


Assuming none of the three teams completely shit the bed non-conference, it's likely that the conference champion will be one of the top 4 champs and get a bye, and the CCG loser and the team left out of the CCG will both be among the next 4 teams in and get a home game. This isn't the 4-team playoff format where a CCG appearance could conceivably hurt a legitimately good team. In the 12-team format, you *want* to be in your CCG, unless you're legitimately on the bubble.


Could a team in theory opt to sit out of the Conference Championship and let the other two undefeateds play instead?


Good point


Let's be real. All 3 teams are making the expanded playoff regardless.


> Big ten clearly is doing whatever sells first If that was the case they'd have an OSU-PSU game


Remember during covid when they rewrote the rules mid-season to let OSU into the CCG?


We'll have conference semifinals before too long, I fear.


Honestly, it might be Penn State that gets the shaft. Strength of record may be in Iowa’s favor. Depends on some teams year to year.


Iowa is playing at OSU and at USC in 2024. I wouldn't worry about them going undefeated, but hey if they do some way win all their games that might be enough to get in the CCG based on SOS. Nobody knows for sure because they have not announced the tie breaker rules for 2024.


Clearly such a travesty of leaving the 'O' out would never happen.


“Flex protect plus” is a great product name for… (wrong answers only) - feminine hygiene product - glitzy defense from a rising Group of 5 school DC - inflatable phone case ?


Supplemental car repair insurance offered by a sketchy company nobody's heard of before.


[There’s this, too.](https://twitter.com/redditcfb/status/1666915906092691456?s=46&t=adLUaN8y1DvHAG4-ciAvUw)


Flex Tape offshoot product.




Right before the steel drums of girls gone wild ads right?


I just had flashbacks to when I was like 13 or 14 and got a TV for my room for Christmas...


I thought it was a health insurance plan


New line of Trojans


I’m picturing some weird 1-6-5 defensive set


Bulletproof vest. “Oh you want to stop magnum rounds? You’ll need the plus model.”


I love how quickly this content came out




We're pretty confident at this point that /u/bakonydraco is in fact a bot pretending to be human. Thankfully so far his programming focuses on weird CFB hypotheticals and not "kill-all-humans" hypotheticals.


No disassemble!


I feel the likelihood a bunch of teams end up with 1 loss is a bit higher.


and 3 teams only losing to the teams they tied with. For example, Michigan beats Ohio St, but loses to Michigan St and Ohio St beats Michigan St and these 3 teams win all the other conference games, they will be tied for 1st.


Ah the 2008 BigXII South


If you have 1 loss and miss out on the B1G championship game, boohoo, you shoulda won. We had divisional tie breakers like that ask the time. But you go undefeated in conference play and don't make the conference championship game? Oh fuck that sucks.


That looks to be the goal. To end up with a collection of 4 0-2 loss teams at the end of the year primed for the playoffs. Honestly, this convinces me even more the B1G won't want to expand. They have achieved the scheduling sweet spot balance of bottoms, mids, and tops to give their big brands 0-2 losses but still have a dozen big games spaced out throughout the 10 weeks of the regular season. * At least 1 big game a week * Top teams only face 2-3 tough opponents per season. They will end up with Ohio State, USC, PSU, and Michigan all having 0-2 losses. They clearly intentionally set their schedule with this in mind.


see 2013 SEC; or 2008 Big 12 or 2010 Big 12 with 4 at 2 losses


\> Nebraska, Ohio State, USC Seems like I would be sad


if the tiebreaker is AP ranking or something might come down to non-con. USC has ND and LSU which is tough. this is about the most plausible combination tho.


They’ll leave you out of the conference championship, but you’ll get a 2 seed for the playoffs because one of those 2 teams lost and you remain undefeated. TappingForhead.gif


The Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio State option in 2024 is in alphabetical order so I support that happening.


Alternatively, they call all go winless instead? That sounds like a good time


me too brother


I think it's safe to cross the 2025 combination of Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, and UCLA off the list.


Best $1 parlay ever if it hits tho…


Yes, 3 teams could go undefeated in BIG TEN play in a single year, but there are still 3 non-conference games that will also be a factor. Overall record is one of the tie breakers for determining who goes to a championship.


One obvious fix would be rules for 3- and 4-team games. Put them all on the field together. Might need to design a new field.


This is the lateral thinking the sport needs right now.


If three teams are tied, first three quarters pit each combination of teams against each other. Fourth quarter has the two best play for the championship Four team rounds robin in quarter play would be impossible (4C2=6), so instead the first two quarters are playoffs and the second half is the finals


Or have the top 2 ranked teams play at the #3 home stadium. If the crowd causes 5 false starts total in the game they win the championship.


The problem with that is it's just "normal" football played at a hostile site. Normal football created this mess, and we're gonna need something different to sort it out.


How many tunnels will that field need? Asking for a friend.


I want to see a year where Indiana, Nebraska, Penn State, and Wisconsin all go undefeated just to see who the committee puts in the playoff and in what order. Does the loser of the Big Ten championship game end up with the worst seed?


Wow it's almost like this is too many teams in one conference


I kind of wish we protected Penn State and Indiana to be honest. Michigan , Penn State and Indiana kind of sounds perfect to have always protected for us.


Yeah. I was expecting something shitty like getting Maryland and Rutgers. Getting nobody is shocking to me.


Now you are truly #unrivaled


Better than Maryland + Rutgers I guess.


Why? We’re unrivaled ;)


You should have gotten OSU and MSU. The protected games are good overall but those are the two big misses in my book.


I agree with all the ones with Minnesota


Easy fix - just hold the Big Ten Championship game once at the end of every two-year cycle after all the teams have played one another


Someone at the Big 10 offices going "aw fuck now we gotta draw up tiebreaker rules"


they have them https://bigten.org/news/2011/8/10/Big_Ten_Conference_Football_Divisional_Tiebreaker.aspx


Excellent analysis! IMO the whole point of a CCG is to funnel all unbeaten teams in to those two spots, so that only one team can win the title unscathed. So to me, this means the B1G really needs four pods or something, with conference semi-finals and then finals.


This was published years ago, but [The Roommate Switch](https://theroommateswitch.wordpress.com/) is the perfect solution here. 4 permanent pods of 4, but they rotate which sets of 2 pods are in a “division” together each year. So you still end up with 2 full round robins, while also protecting main rivalries and getting to play your entire conference on a very regular basis.


That’d actually be a cool idea Leaders: Iowa, Nebraska, UCLA, USC Legends: Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin Ligaments: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue Lycanthropy: Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers Play within your division, one other division, and one other protected rival/random game for 8 Conference games. Play everyone in 3 years minimum, visit every stadium every six. The ninth game (Week 13) is Conference Semifinals, or one other “flex” game for the rest of the teams, Coastal-BYU style. That’d be really fun.


Yes, tell me all the ways Michigan State can go undefeated.




Seems like the best bad idea for a conference.


Can some one please ELI5?


you see timmy, even though all the teams claim to be in a conference, the conference wants more money. So they made it so there's more teams but all the teams aren't going to play each other. Since all the teams don't play each other, that means that several teams - 3 or 4 - could all go undefeated in the same season, and still, one will be called the 'champion' even if there's another undefeated team.


Tale as old as time.


There's so many teams in the conference that even with 9 games, many teams do not play each other. And with that, the schedules are so different from each other that 3-4 teams can be undefeated at the end of the season. The SEC will be worse with only 8 conference games.


Looks like we're going to have to run up some scores to make sure we get the nod over Minnesota.


> Indiana, Ohio State, USC IU fans burn down B1G headquarters because their once in a lifetime undefeated season is ruined because “well it’s just better ratings”.


To be fair, there are tiebreakers beyond conference records


They could easily solve this...Put them in divisions and change the makeup of the divisions each year...play that division for that year and then the next year, you could have new divisions to allow for teams to play each other more often.


I honestly think that Iowa-Penn State-Michigan and possibly even Nebraska-Ohio State-USC are theoretically possible


So does Michigan still play Ohio state every year? Or is that going to the wayside because that would be No Bueno!


Michigan and OSU will play every year, along with Michigan and msu


Thanks for clarifying I was truly concerned I’d have to go a year without watching the game or backyard brawl.


Everyone (except penn st) has 1-3 protected games they will play every year. Penn st ended up with no protected games and will have 3 teams they do home/home with, then rotate out.




Ohio State - Michigan is the biggest rivalry in all of sports. It is not going by the wayside.


"Hey guys, lets cause all of this realignment and get teams with no history together playing each other in the same league for big TV money." *Inadvertently kills the greatest rivalry in all sports.* [Me.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBa6ulxA4Lo)


It’s more likely that Illinois/Iowa/Rutgers all go winless in 2025 than undefeated


B1G if true


And never forget that a team just may decide to forfeit and not play their main rival as scheduled.




Good to see it got through.


Play a real schedule instead of having FCS week and we'll take you seriously.




To your first point; respectfully, Illinois is good now (again), they’ve become really good.


Illinois with Bielema, Nebraska with Rhule, and Wisconsin with Fickell is about to be a gauntlet. Add in Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State and give MSU a chance to recover and jesus the B10 is getting to incredibly stacked levels. Go from having a weak West and a dominant East to having a mostly stacked conference. Not even mentioning the Spoilermaker effect.


Appreciate it turtle bro.




Over the last year under new head coach Bielema. Their defense was absolutely world class.


Best in the country in my admittedly biased opinion.


From a badger fan I don’t disagree.


LSU National Championships = 4 Minnesota National Championships = 7




Considering where you guys were in 2022…I really didn’t think an LSU homer would go with “What have you done for me lately?”


7>4 Lmk when you get to 5. The feeling is unexplainable.


Literally every team you just shit on besides Rutgers, Purdue, and Maryland has been in the AP Top 15 in the last 3 years lol


And we were in the B1G championship game last year (I think this might be hurting more than it helps though)


No no, keep cooking boss


Okay but y’all got Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky (until very recently), and Texas


Your takes are bad and you should feel bad.




Duh. Last year we were fighting for a spot later in the season than LSU.


Also we literally have more national championships than you. Sit down poverty program.


because there's nothing that disproves that more than bringing the sec up apropos of nothing in a thread about the big ten


Nobody else looking at UCLA-Rutgers as a travel headache? No? Just me?